Bruce Bower

Bruce Bower

Behavioral Sciences Writer

Bruce Bower has written about the behavioral sciences since 1984. He often writes about psychology, anthropology, archaeology and mental health issues. Bruce has a master's degree in psychology from Pepperdine University and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Following an internship at Science News in 1981, he worked as a reporter at Psychiatric News, a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, until joining Science News as a staff writer. In 1996, the American Psychological Association appointed Bruce a Science Writer Fellow, with a grant to visit psychological scientists of his own choosing. Early stints as an aide in a day school for children and teenagers with severe psychological problems and as a counselor in a drug diversion center provided Bruce with a surprisingly good background for a career in science journalism.

All Stories by Bruce Bower

  1. Photographs of W.H. Rivers and Siegfried Sassoon

    ‘Fires in the Dark’ illuminates how great healers ease mental suffering

    Kay Redfield Jamison’s new book examines approaches used throughout history to restore troubled minds and broken spirits.

  2. A painting of a group of Xiongnu herders riding horses with more livestock seen off to the side.

    How Asia’s first nomadic empire broke the rules of imperial expansion

    New studies reveal clues to how mobile rulers assembled a multiethnic empire of herders known as the Xiongnu more than 2,000 years ago.

  3. A photo of a hominid leg fossil on a black background with a magnified view of it on the right shows a variety of scratches and gouges.

    Fossil marks suggest hominids butchered one another around 1.45 million years ago

    Researchers disagree whether new evidence of stone tool marks on a hominid leg bone reflects ancient cannibalism or perhaps some other, undetected behavior.

  4. An artist reconstruction of a grave holding several bones.

    Homo naledi may have dug cave graves and carved marks into cave walls

    Proposed discoveries of humanlike activities by these ancient, small-brained hominids have elicited skepticism from some researchers.

  5. An overhead photo of a massive ancient hunting trap in Jordan.

    The oldest scaled-down drawings of actual structures go back 9,000 years

    Rock engravings in Jordan and Saudi Arabia may be maps or blueprints of desert kites, massive structures once used to capture animal herds.

  6. An overhead image of a small deer tooth pendant with a hole drilled into it

    Ancient human DNA was extracted from a 20,000-year-old deer tooth pendant

    Insights into Stone Age people’s lives may soon come from a new, nondestructive DNA extraction method.

  7. A photo of the inside of cave with stalagmites and stalactites in a yellow light.

    Hair analysis reveals Europe’s oldest physical evidence of drug use

    Analyses of human hair found in a Mediterranean cave turned up psychoactive plant substances, revealing use of hallucinogens around 3,000 years ago.

  8. A close up image of a light orange snail with a brown shell sitting on the ground.

    What did Homo sapiens eat 170,000 years ago? Roasted, supersized land snails

    Charred shell bits at an African site reveal the earliest known evidence of snail-meal prep, suggesting ancient humans cooked and shared the mollusks.

  9. An image of a Native American man standing next to a brown horse while other brown horses mill in the background.

    Native Americans corralled Spanish horses decades before Europeans arrived

    Great Plains groups incorporated domestic horses into their cultures by the early 1600s, before Europeans moved north from Mexico.

  10. illustration showing rotting mean, fruit, vegetables and an animal carcass

    A surprising food may have been a staple of the real Paleo diet: rotten meat

    The realization that people have long eaten putrid foods has archaeologists rethinking what Neandertals and other ancient hominids ate.

  11. Three long-tailed macaque monkeys appear to be pounding open oil plam nut with rocks.

    Some monkeys accidentally make stone flakes that resemble ancient hominid tools

    A study of Thailand macaques raises questions about whether some Stone Age cutting tools were products of planning or chance.

  12. An artistic portrayal of a southeastern European hunter-gatherer from the Gravettian culture. The man has dark skin and dark hair. He is wearing a skull cap, necklace and a fur shawl.

    Ancient DNA unveils disparate fates of Ice Age hunter-gatherers in Europe

    Ancient DNA unveils two regional populations that lived in what is now Europe and made similar tools but met different fates.